Monsters

If you’ve ever wondered about the intimate hell of finding financing for an independent film, Edward Epstein has written a strongly worded, easy to understand primer on the subject that should be required reading for anyone even remotely interested in making their own film through traditional channels. As a (frustrating) standard, his essay is incredibly compelling, but even though his points are all correct, his ultimate conclusions about the possible negative fate of indie movies is slightly off. It’s not independent movies that are endangered. It’s the corporately-sponsored brand most have gotten used to that’s really in trouble.

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Every week, Landon Palmer and Cole Abaius log on to their favorite chat client of 1996 as NoWaveSurfer and KeatonRox2738 in order to discuss some topical topic of interest. This week, the purported death of indie films that’s reported upon faithfully every year (at least 4 times a year). In the face of the Independent Film’s best friend festival beginning this weekend, we tackle the real question: Indie films can’t actually be dead, can they?

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This is one of those good news bad news situations. Everyone loves an underdog story, and that’s where we’ll begin. Gareth Edwards directed a (very) small film called Monsters that saw him multi-tasking like a mad man in the role of director, writer, special effects wizard, best boy, and more, all for under a few hundred thousand dollars.  The story followed two strangers forced to walk through a near future Mexico that is now home to giant alien creatures. He garnered heaps of critical praise for both the film and his ingenuity as the film made the rounds on the festival circuit, and that attention led to it being acquired by Magnolia for a limited theatrical release. That in turn led to Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures offering Edwards the director’s chair on a big budget studio film. That’s the good news. Yay for the little guy! The bad news? That big budget studio film is the remake of Godzilla.

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The Reject Report

As Admiral Ackbar so phlegmingly exclaimed, “It’s a trap!” You sit down in your seat at the movie theater to see the latest (last?) Saw film, you put on your 3D glasses, this triggers a wire to pull which drops a marble down a shoot which knocks over a pin which falls onto a switch which turns some gears which opens a doorway which allows a bowling ball to roll out which bumps into and starts a lawn mower which blows up and pops a balloon which causes a chicken to lay an egg which turns some more gears which opens Mikey’s front gate which turns some levers which opens a trap door which drops millions upon millions of dollars into Lionsgate’s pockets. That’s how that works. At least, I think it’s how it works. Maybe I shouldn’t be covering box office reports.

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Gareth Edwards is a funny man. You might not know that just from seeing his feature film debut Monsters. You also might not know it from the things he had to do to get the film made. Edwards speaks with the casual tone of a seasoned pro, and after seeing heads on spikes, making his actors eat ants, and making a CGI-heavy film with almost no money, he might just be a few years ahead of his own resume. I got the chance to speak with Edwards, whose film comes out Friday October 29th, and we spoke about the advice he has for aspiring filmmakers, the challenges of shooting in South America and why the worst day of his life happened during production.

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When the calendar page turns to October, we Rejects have only one thought: horror. To celebrate this grandest and darkest of months, we’ll cover one excellent horror film a day for the entirety of the month. That’s 31 Days of Horror and 31 Films perfect for viewing on a dark, chilly, October night. If you, like us, love horror and Halloween, give us a Hell Yeah and keep coming every day this month for a new dose of adrenaline. Synopsis: John (Costner) moves his two children to a house well outside of town, looking to escape the pain of his recent divorce. His troubled teenage daughter Louisa seeks solace in the woods behind surrounding the house, but after she becomes infatuated with a mysterious mound and begins acting strangely, things at the home go from strained to strange. Killer Scene: Without giving away too much, the entire last twenty or thirty minutes of the movie is awesome and unexpected. To give you a taste, let’s just say Kevin Costner grabs his shotgun, messes some shit up, and then goes out to take care of that mound once and for all, via violence!

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We realize that you’re probably sitting at home right now, chewing your own nails off and wondering what movies are coming out this month. Maybe you’re even wondering why no one on the entire internet has said anything about them by now. Strange, we know. Fortunately, Rob Hunter and Cole Abaius spent the entire month of September searching EBSCO Host, making phone calls to important producers and making fan trailers out of peanut butter and marshmallows to make sure that you, dear reader, are in the know about what’s coming out in October. Wondering why it’s a few days late? Because we don’t run it until it’s perfect. Or something. Anyway, just check out the movies to see what you wanna see.

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Gareth Edwards, who you might get to know better after the release of his ultra-low budget film Monsters in October, has already found a next project that continues the science fiction slant. He’s teaming with Wanted director Timur Bekmambetov (who will produce) on a project with no title or plot synopsis except the vague statement that it will be: “an epic human story, set in a futuristic world without humanity.” Clearly, they’re making Wall-E 2. [Deadline Pluto]

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The tone of the thing may oversell the giant monster movie aspect of what is essentially an unscripted drama taking place in the stomping grounds of the extra-terrestrials who have now taken up residence in Northern Mexico, but I realize as I write that sentence that it stills seems incredibly cool. The FSR team got to see Gareth Edwards’s Monsters when it hit Austin for SXSW. The reactions were mixed, but I honestly loved the film. It’s got a creativity and low-budget bargaining that makes it look like a million bucks (for much less than a million bucks). Plus, the lead actors (Scoot McNairy and Whitney Able) have the burden of carrying the entire film. Fortunately, they’re charismatic enough to do it. This first trailer doesn’t give much of an eye into that world, but it should do a bit to tease you with the things that go boom in the night.

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If you spent any time checking out our SXSW coverage, you probably noticed a few pieces on Monsters, the romance/horror/alien-love-making-movie-that-isn’t-Splice movie from director Gareth Edwards. You probably also noticed that, like most movies coming out of festivals, there wasn’t a release date for you to hang your excitement on. Without it, your excitement just sat there in the air like a man waiting for a bus in the rain. Fortunately for your excitement, he can rejoice, because his metaphorical bus has arrived.

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Monster Movies

Dip your toes in the nuclear waste before we dive into a rant about the absence of modern monster movies.

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The Coroner

Mixing horror with Kevin Costner is like the first time you heard of chocolate covered bacon. You thought you’d like it, but were scared. Once you try it, though…

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If the remake tossed out the classic monsters, which modern monsters would you like to see replace them?

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Monsters

Take Garreth Edwards’ Monsters. On the surface, it’s a good movie. But when we pull back a few layers and see what went into this film, it’s both good and very interesting. Interesting, for what it is.

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Today at SXSW

Today, we’re looking forward to a lot of the narrative competition films and a few cool spotlight premieres. It’s the fattest day of screening here at SXSW, so gird your loins — it’s about to get messy.

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SXSW Film 2010

It’s that time again. The 2010 South by Southwest Film Festival is upon us, and we couldn’t be more excited. For the second year in a row, we’re covering one of our favorite American film festivals as an Austin-based publication. And we kick off our official festival coverage with a list.

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SXSW Film 2010

Just over a year ago, we talked to producer/actor Scoot McNairy about an interesting science fiction film shot without a script. A mumblecore action movie, if you will. Today, we get to preview that exact movie as part of our look ahead to this year’s SX Fantastic line-up.

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31daysofhorror-reckoning

For those of you Halloween lovers with little monsters at home, pop in this (mostly) family friendly monster dance party disc!

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Wherethewildsthingsareheader

The marketing campaign for Where the Wild Things Are continues its hot steak of creating beautiful ads that get our hopes up for a fantastic film.

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blood

We hand pick 10 of the deadliest, most badass monsters to ever grace the silver screen, then toss those out and substitute our favorites.

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